His convictions include first-degree felonies, some with a maximum of 20 years in prison.With no prior history of criminal activity, Sandusky would normally face less time on each charge under standard sentencing guidelines. But Judge John Cleland has some discretion and could find either mitigating or aggravating circumstances.
Sandusky is 68 and under many scenarios would spend the rest of his life behind bars.
None of the jurors granted post-trial interviews. But many in the crowd outside were jubilant at the outcome.
“I’m glad I wasn’t on the jury because I would have said: ‘Fry him,’ ” said Connie Stoner, 63, a lifelong Bellefonte area resident.
She said that when news first came out about Sandusky’s crimes, morale in the region hit an all-time low.
“We hung our heads for a while. It was shameful,” she said. “But it’s over now, he’s guilty and now Happy Valley can be happy again.”
Sandusky’s arrest last fall was a bombshell at Penn State, leading to the firing of the school’s beloved head football coach, Joe Paterno, who was criticized for not doing enough after receiving a report of his assistant coach’s actions. Paterno died of lung cancer in January at age 85. School president Graham Spanier also was dismissed.
In a statement issued late Friday, the Paterno family said: “Although we understand the task of healing is just beginning, today’s verdict is an important milestone. The community owes a measure of gratitude to the jurors for their diligent service. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the victims and their families.
Amendola said the case was “extremely difficult” because of the mountain of charges. After the verdict, he said of the Sandusky family, “They’re devastated, but they’ve BEEN devastated.”
The former coach, whom Cleland will sentence in about 90 days, was taken to the nearby Centre County Correctional Facility. Sandusky will be kept in isolation, his attorney said. He will be permitted to bring only a small number of newly purchased, unwrapped clothing items.
His attorney said Sandusky had been optimistic throughout the past seven months about his chances of being acquitted. Even on trial days featuring horrific testimony from weeping witnesses, Sandusky could be seen late in the day joking and laughing with a small group of friends who came daily to support him.
Sandusky was charged with six types of crimes involving 10 children over the course of 15 years: involuntary deviate sexual intercourse; indecent assault; unlawful contact with minors; corruption of minors; endangering the welfare of children; and aggravated indecent assault.
Sandusky’s attorneys gambled that he’d have his best shot with a local jury that would be familiar with his acclaimed 32-year career as a coach for the Penn State Nittany Lions and with his work with the Second Mile, an organization for troubled children that he founded in 1977 and that became one of Pennsylvania’s leading charities.